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N1.7 billion Subsidy Fraud: Absence Of Prosecutor Stalls Trial Of Oil Marketer

The absence of the prosecution counsel on Monday stalled the trial of an oil marketer and a cargo surveyor charged with N1.7 billion petrol subsidy fraud at a Federal High Court, Lagos.

Samuel Owa and Onassisi Wajutom, who are of Stone Bridge Oil Ltd. And Vibrant Ventures Ltd. respectively, are standing trial alongside their companies on a four-count charge bordering on the offence.

When the case was mentioned on Monday, the counsel to the first and second accused, Joseph Nwobike, informed the court that the prosecutor, Dania Abdullahi, was indisposed.

He told the court that Mr. Abdullahi called him earlier to say that he would not be in court.

Mr. Nwobike, therefore, prayed the court for a short adjournment.

Justice Ibrahim Buba adjourned the case to February 21 for continuation of hearing.

The accused persons were arraigned on June 18, 2013.

They were alleged to have fraudulently obtained N1.7 billion from the Federal Government, under the pretext of having imported about 145 metric tons of Premium Motor Spirit.

The prosecution alleged that Vibrant Ventures and its principal, Wajutom, while acting as cargo surveyors, aided the first accused, Owa, and his company, Stone Bridge Oil Ltd, to obtain the said sum.

The accused had, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and were each granted bail in the sum of N500 million with two sureties; each in like sum.

The offence is said to contravene the provisions of Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, Cap. A6, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

It attracts an imprisonment term of not more than 20 years and not less than seven years.

(NAN)

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